Letter: If you want to have a say, make service mandatory

Editor,

Let’s be honest, this was never about noise. It’s about people who don’t like the military and want military people out of their neighborhood so they can go back to being bold “internet heroes,” where there is no backlash for the outrageous exaggerations they tell.

These internet heroes associate with their kind with an elitist world view of their own importance. We’ve seen their kind before and have thankfully kept them out of positions of power in society.

The Growler mission has never changed. The role of the electronic attack community, located solely on Whidbey Island, is to provide suppression of enemy defenses for the entire Department of Defense. The Growler’s job doesn’t change depending on whether you like war or not. It’s irrelevant to the profession of arms.

Aircrew train every day of their professional lives to lead in combat, fly complex missions in contested and dangerous areas of the world, and subject their families to great challenges. We don’t care about war and peace; our job doesn’t change one bit, and we’ll be going to sea just as much.

We’ll be flying from aircraft carriers and land bases, training in the local military operating areas, and spending time in our community of Whidbey Island. Yes, this is our community too. You have no special claim to it. We live here, own property, raise families and vote.

The United States decided long ago that the best way to sustain peace is to prepare for war. We have an all-volunteer military, which is why there is such a large separation between society and the military.

Civilians have no stake in the game any longer.

If you want to have a say, then I suggest three simple actions. First, demand that the U.S. government make two years of military service compulsory for all able Americans. This puts skin in the game and ensures that war touches every American family. Politicians will listen when every constituent has something to fear.

Second, join our ranks yourself for a time and see the work we do every day. I’d be happy to take you aboard an aircraft carrier for a week to see how dangerous it can be and why so much training is required.

Lastly, write a letter to a parent whose child was saved by American pilots. Explain to them why you think less training is necessary, or why you think your neighborhood is too special to bear the burden of sacrifice. I assure you, that parent doesn’t care if you have money or influence. They care that a Navy pilot saved their son or daughter.

Otherwise, feel free to contact any elected official. You’ll get the same form letter and election year promises, but in the end all we need to do is send handsome young pilots in flight suits to shake hands with the community, and everyone remembers why we’re here. We care about our community and our families just as much as you, and we aren’t going anywhere.

Enjoy the sound of freedom, and if that happens to sound like war to you, I suggest you travel to a real war-zone and see how it’s different because I assure you, you aren’t qualified to describe what a war zone is.

The electronic attack community, the Growlers, and men and women of the U.S. Navy make sure of it every day.

Dave Rider

Oak Harbor

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